Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spirit Day 2011: Millions Wearing Purple to Honor LGBT Youth

Spirit Day was created last year by teenager Brittany McMillan to call attention to the problem of anti-gay teen bullying and those kids who chose to end their lives because they just couldn't take it any more. 

For those who may not know/remember, in the rainbow flag, purple is the color that represents spirit. 

GLAAD is taking the lead this year and released the following statement:

Last year, millions took part in Spirit Day by wearing purple, changing their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to purple, and sharing the message via social media.  Public figures – from the cast of Glee, to Ellen DeGeneres, to Hillary Clinton – took part as well. This year, millions more are expected to show their support – and the support among public figures has grown. Celebrities like Conan O’Brien, Heather Graham, Cher and Aziz Ansari have pledged to go purple. Some of the nation’s biggest brands, including Facebook, Yahoo!, PepsiCo and Viacom are encouraging millions of their employees to participate. MTV will change the color of its logo to support a cause for just the second time in the network’s history.

Beyond the nation’s media, celebrities and brands, students and youth are taking action:

-       At Palisades Park Jr./Sr. High School in New Jersey: The students and faculty have been made aware of Spirit Day. Everyone has been asked to wear purple on Thursday. At the end of the day, all students and staff members wearing purple will be called down to the lobby to take a picture.

-       At Troy High School in Troy Michigan: The Gay-Straight Alliance is distributing purple wristbands and asking teachers to have a one minute word with the class explaining Spirit Day and handing out wristbands.

Churches and congregations are also ‘going purple.’

This year’s Spirit Day, like last year’s, has an urgency to it. There’s a need for our communities and our culture to show these young people that they are accepted and cared for. Every person who wears purple on Thursday creates a slightly bigger safe space in the world of an LGBT young person.

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